Davidson vs. Wichita State December 29 Free Pick

By College Basketball

Davidson and Wichita State meet in a Sunday afternoon matchup between two of the more decorated mid-major programs of the last five to ten years. Name alone isn’t enough to warrant respect in Vegas, though. And Davidson opens up as a 17.5-point underdog to the powerful Wichita State Shockers.

Free Pick

Davidson plays its first game since it took North Carolina to overtime eight days ago in Chapel Hill. The Wildcats went on to lose the game by 12 in overtime after UNC managed to tie the game in the final minute and force thebob extra five minutes. Still, it was an encouraging performance from Davidson that clearly benefited from a healthy De’Mon Brooks. Brooks is a senior forward that is far and away the most talented player on the Davidson roster. A left-handed natural scorer, Brooks resembles a bit of the game DeShaun Thomas put on display for Ohio State in his prolific career. His physicality and unorthodox scoring ability might bother Early a little bit and I expect his presence to boost the play of everybody around him. Davidson’s ability to have some sort of control over the pace in this one will almost certainly determine which side covers. Look for the Wildcats to slow this ballgame down to a half court game and battle Wichita at their own pace. The Shockers won’t look to run necessarily but will try to apply heavy ball pressure whenever they can defensively. In Wichita, it will be a challenge for Davidson to control possessions but Bob McKillop is one of the best in the business at preparing his team for a hostile environment.

Wichita State enters this game as the #10 ranked school in the country and one of the unbeaten’s left in College Basketball. The Shockers’ advantage in this one comes on the perimeter where Greg Marshall’s squadron of guards is much more athletic than the slower and less dynamic corps for the road team. Look for guys like Tekele Cotton and Nick Wiggins to get penetration at will and make plays inside the teeth of the Davidson defense. Davidson might have to surrender the three-point shot, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Shockers only shoot it from 32 percent beyond the arc and don’t cater their offense toward the three-point shot. Look for Davidson to make Wichita make long-range shots before it surrenders the lane. If Wichita knocks down shots early it could lean to a run-out. If not, Davidson will keep this thing competitive.

I like Davidson with such a big number in this spot. De’Mon Brooks really makes the Wildcats a different team and his presence should be enough to keep this one close for a good chunk of the afternoon.

Free Pick: Davidson +17.5

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